August 19th, 2009
10:43 AM ET

The birthday girl has fleas

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/19/art.vert.sammy.jpg caption="Jack's dog, Sammy, on the west side of Manhattan" width=292 height=320]

Jack Gray
AC360° Producer/Writer

My dog is snoring. It is, as far as I’m concerned, one of the sweetest sounds in the world. Especially considering the alternative – a duo of pub-goers on the sidewalk below my window pondering that age-old question, “Why aren’t you wearing underwear?”

At a time when the future of health care seems more uncertain than ever, it’s worth pointing out that a dog snoring is not just among life's more pleasant sounds but among its healthiest, too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that having a pet can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and feelings of loneliness. Unless, of course, your dog runs away, in which case the loneliness thing becomes a bit of a gray area.

My canine health care comes in the form of a Labrador Retriever named Sammy, whose birthday is today. Ah, Sammy – the center of my world, the odor of my studio apartment. I can’t believe she’s already 5-years-old. It seems like only yesterday that I picked her out of a squirmy puppy pile in southern Maine. Now she’s just another maladjusted New Yorker, unabashedly flatulent and all too eager to fornicate in public.


August 19th, 2009
10:37 AM ET

Dear President Obama #212: Mind your pennies ... and your friends

Reporter's Note: Our president, Barack Obama, is waging war on several political fronts these days. It’s never easy for any president, no matter his agenda or point of view. But folks in battle always appreciate a letter. Or so I’m told.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/17/art.obama.jpg]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Hard to believe that summer is actually close to ending. Kids will be back in schools soon, leaves will start falling (better get Biden to take the White House leaf blower in for a tune-up, eh?) and I just can’t believe that pre-season football is on TV already! Go Saints! But I’ll bet it has already felt like a year-and-a-half for you.

I ran for office only once in my life, and it was on a somewhat smaller scale. I wanted to be treasurer for my 4-H club, and launched an aggressive campaign built around my talent for magic tricks. My opponent, a guy name Kent who had ears like the doors on a DeLorean, promised fiscal responsibility. I promised to find any card taken from a deck while I was blindfolded. In an early object lesson in practical politics, personality trumped policy like rock smashes scissors. I crushed him. But three months into it, I was bored out of my mind. Turns out keeping the 4-H check book was more work than I had expected. Heck, I only joined the club so I could raise rabbits and go on the hayride.


August 19th, 2009
10:11 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Inside a crime lab

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/08/18/afghanistan.elections.security/art.afghan.nato.afp.gi.jpg caption="Afghan police survey the scene of a suicide car bomb in Kabul yesterday, just days before national elections. Polls will open while we're on air tonight."]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

As part of our series this week on crime scene fraud, Dr. Sanjay Gupta goes inside a forensic crime lab – one of 400 in the United States. How is forensic science examined? He will show us how this type of evidence is used in criminal cases. We’ll also look into how credible bite marks, hair and fiber analyses are versus DNA evidence – which has overturned many wrongful convictions. Sanjay even got his own hair fibers tested. Learn more about the reliability of crime labs tonight.

And we’ll have the latest on the tug of war over the health care reform. We found out last night that Democrats are now considering pushing through their own plan without Republican support. They say they see little chance of GOP cooperation in approving any overhaul so they might just focus on drawing support for a final plan from within their own ranks. This means they would need 51 votes instead of 60 to pass it in the Senate.

Remember all of the campaign promises about curbing the influence of lobbyists on K Street? Well, Joe Johns reports that even though it’s only eight months into the year it looks like it could be a record year for spending on lobbying. Despite the Obama administration’s public admonition of this practice, lobbyists are still going strong in the nation’s capital. Estimates indicate that there are approximately six lobbyists for every member of Congress. Joe is keeping them honest and will explain how the health care debate has only augmented the prevalence of the lobbyists.


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
August 19th, 2009
10:09 AM ET

Slavery needs more than an apology

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/10/art.ghana.cape.castle.door.jpg caption="The 'door of no return' at the Cape Coast Castle in Ghana. Slaves would exit this door and board ships bound for the western hemisphere."]

Katrina Browne
Special to CNN

The Senate voted to apologize for slavery on June 18. The House apologized last summer. The first family - descendants of Africans, of enslaved Africans and of slave-holders - visited a slave fort in Ghana.

These were historic occasions, and they occasioned the kind of hue and cry that always accompany the subject of slavery and whether we still need to reckon with it.

I believe we do need more reckoning, and a little more love and a little more logic would help that process.

Logic first: There's this quasi-math problem in which things don't add up. Many African-Americans naturally feel as if there is unfinished business from the past, while many European-Americans (and others) don't think they should inherit burdens from a past not of their making. So there's this generational equation to be worked out, and it will take big hearts, eager hearts, to do so.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Ghana • Raw Politics
August 19th, 2009
09:34 AM ET
August 19th, 2009
08:49 AM ET

Tragic neglect of immigration

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/10/obama.immigration/art.fri.gi.jpg caption="New citizens take the oath of citizenship during ceremonies in Montebello, California, earlier this year."]

Rudy Ruiz
Special to CNN

One of the greatest challenges for minorities in any democracy is that their priorities often differ with those of the majority.

Consequently, even if a minority group does not experience outright tyranny, it can suffer tragic neglect. That's the lingering problem with immigration reform.

Latino leaders have long called for comprehensive immigration reform. During the presidential campaign, it finally seemed destined for reality as candidates sought the crucial Latino vote.

But today, where's immigration reform on the list of priorities?

Keep Reading...

August 19th, 2009
08:44 AM ET
August 19th, 2009
07:33 AM ET

Sound Off: Your comments 8/18/09

Editor's Note: Many of you wrote in to tell us that you were happy with last night's questions and explanations on the issue of health care reform presented by Anderson Cooper and Dr. Gupta, and continued to offer opinions on whether or not the proposal should be pushed through. We also heard thanks for the segment on “junk science” by Gary Tuchman, with viewers expressing hope that there will be more like it in the future. Lastly, in response to Anderson’s statement “we don’t know how old he is or where he is from” as “The Shot” aired video of a young boy driving his family’s car, viewers responded offering answers to those questions. We’d love to hear from you as well:


I had to write in to say I saw a segment between Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta about Health Care that wasn't a rehash of superficial democratic and republican talking points. There were great questions, great explanations, and I actually learned something about health care. This was a big leap for CNN today...Bravo

To ram a health bill thru will hurt the democrat’s seats in 2010. Obama cannot afford that. He needs two terms to make his changes. I hope the Dems go for it….

Thank you for the segment on junk science. The news media doesn't often do a very good job reporting on science and often completely fail to distinguish between what is actual science and what is junk science, sometimes even presenting junk science as a fair and balanced alternative view. I hope to see more segments that expose junk science.


Filed under: Behind The Scenes
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